Story by Chad Waller, NAIA Media Coordinator
Pictures courtesy of NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) A sacrifice fly from C.J. Browder lifted No. 5 Reinhardt (Ga.) over No. 8 Oklahoma City, 3-2, in the winner’s bracket of the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex on Monday. The Lady Eagles came back from a 2-0 deficit, which marked the first time this World Series (in 11 games) that there was a come-from-behind win.
Browder came up with the bases loaded, with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, and lifted a 2-1 pitch to left-center field. A throw home by centerfielder Jamie Rateliff was late and Shelby Sinclair scored for Reinhardt’s game-winning run.
“That’s the position I want to be in as a senior,” said Browder on her final at-bat. “Nothing has been easy for us all year and we came through, it was a team effort. I was looking for a good pitch and looking for a base hit, not trying to be a hero, just looking for a base hit.”
A solo home run by Randi Wimpy in the sixth inning started the scoring for Reinhardt. The blast was her 22nd of the year, which leads the NAIA. That run also snapped a 14-inning scoreless streak by Oklahoma City pitcher Danielle Fox.
Four batters later, Katie Blair rapped a pinch-hit single to the hole between first and second base which plated Browder, who reached on a base hit. Fox got Alexis Chumbler on a strikeout to end the inning with two runners left on base.
Reinhardt will take on the winner of the No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT.
“I’ve always said there are games that you learn from,” said Reinhardt head coach Glen Crawford. “We learned in the conference tournament when we went extra innings and won a game that we learned we can battle through the extra innings. We learned in the Opening Round (National Championship) we can come back from a four-run deficit to win late.
“Today, we learned that we can go up against the best and hold our own and still in the end make the key at bat, key pitch, key play, and win a game.”
In the first meeting of the World Series between the Stars and Lady Eagles, both teams entered the contest with the longest win streaks in the NAIA at 12-straight.
Kyndra Holasek gave the Stars a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, her 11th of the year. She continued her hot hitting as she has posted five hits through three World Series games and now has a NAIA-record 118 on the season.
The Stars fall to the elimination bracket and faces No. 7 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) Tuesday at 1 p.m.
By staying in the winner’s bracket, Reinhardt needs two more wins in-a-row to take the World Series title. A team in the loser’s bracket needs five more wins.
Reinhardt starter Madison Luck recorded the win in the circle, going 7.0 innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits. She struck out three and walked four.
No player had more than one hit for either team.
The 34th Annual Softball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council.
For more information, including updated bracket, stats and live streaming, click here.